BANGKOK — Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is tipped to be the anti-junta coalition’s frontrunner for the premiership after Pheu Thai Party said it will not nominate its own leader.
Speaking just a day before parliament convenes to settle on Thailand’s next prime minister, Pheu Thai sec-gen Phumtham Wechayachai said party boss Sudarat Keyuraphan will not renege on her pledge to refuse the top government job.
“Khun Ying Sudarat already announced she will not take office, and she does not intend to break the pledge that she gave to the public,” Phumtham said.
When asked whether Thanathorn is now the anti-junta faction’s best choice for the premiership, the Pheu Thai secretary said the Future Forward leader is “eligible” to run as their candidate when MPs assemble for a vote tomorrow.
“Although the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended Mr. Thanathorn from his duties [as an MP], he is still eligible. He can be nominated for the prime minister’s seat,” Phumtham said.
A source in Pheu Thai also said party executives on Monday agreed to put Thanathorn forward as their frontrunner, because he is more likely to be accepted by Democrat MPs. The latter remain on the fence about junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha’s bid for another term in office.
Since Thanathorn is not working with Pheu Thai directly, some Democrats may have fewer qualms about voting for him than for a Pheu Thai candidate, the source said.
Parliament’s session to select the new prime minister will kick off at 11am tomorrow and is predicted to be an excruciatingly long session. House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has said each party is free to make their case and debate with other parties.